Friday, April 30, 2010

Will Joy stay in Virginia?

Joy Caracciolo a 6-2 junior center from Stonewall Jackson High, has decommited from East Carolina since Pirates coach Sharon Baldwin-Tenor left for Georgia State. Among the schools Caracciolo reportedly has an interest in: Old Dominion, where she has already taken an unofficial visit.

This past season, the 6-foot-2 center averaged 20.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots in helping lead the Raiders to the Group AAA state tournament. She was an all-Cedar Run District and all-Northwest Region selection.

At least 11 Division I schools have shown interest in Caracciolo, including James Madison, Delaware, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth. Read up on this kid and you'll learn she not only plays a mean game of basketball. She's got quite the singing voice, too.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Radford signs Lake Taylor guard

Breshara Gordon, a 5-6 guard from Virginia Group AAA state champion Lake Taylor, signed a letter-of-intent with Radford Thursday. She is the first addition to the Highlanders' 2010-11 class; a school spokesman indicated one more player may be on the way. And the Highlanders will be really set if a year from now Gordon can convince one of her teammates to join her. Lake Taylor's rising senior class is flat-out loaded.

As for Gordon, she may have been overshadowed at times on such a star-studded roster, but she seized the spotlight all to herself in the 2009 Eastern Region semifinals.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mel is just Mel

Something like 100 years ago I was a sports intern at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite my journalism pedigree from the University of Missouri, I found the Inquirer an intimidating place. Its mammoth size was daunting. The writers were superstars in their craft. The sports department wasn't used to having interns, so I was rather alone as a newbie trying to figure out the lay of the land. I didn't know the city or the sports or how to drive, for that matter. I spent the summer living above an antique store in the apartment of a rock musician who was on the road. It sounds glamorous, maybe, but it wasn't.

It's always great to have someone who makes the road a little bit easier when you haven't a clue, and that's what Mel Greenberg did for me.

Mel is retiring from the Inquirer this week -- not women's basketball, just the Inquirer. He's an amazing guy, and I'm glad I can call him my friend.

I'd love to say that in the summer of 1990 I hung on every word Mel had to say about women's basketball. But it wasn't like that. I remember Mel from the night desk in Philly. I had trouble figuring out what I was doing on the computer system and everybody seemed too busy to ask. Mel was busy, too, but he always had time to help, whether I had one question or 20, and I usually had 20.

It wasn't until years later when I became a women's basketball writer that I began to understand the role Mel has played in the development of the sport. He knows its past and present, and he's inside enough to be able to tell you what's going to happen in the future. What a head start I could have gotten on the annals of women's basketball if I had loved the sport then the way I love it now. But I didn't know.

Truth is I didn't discover the sport till a few years later. I didn't realize in my intern days what an asset Mel was to the game. My buddy Lou, an editor there, told me about Mel, but I didn't realize Mel invented the women's basketball poll and was a one-man show for many years. What Bud Collins is to tennis, Mel is to women's basketball. I wish I had known at the time.

I didn't know because nothing about talking with Mel says big time. Mel is humble and unassuming and easygoing. He's a storyteller, if you can decipher his stories. I've frequently compared conversations with him to reading a Faulkner novel -- even if you start at the beginning, you still feel as if you've somehow missed something. Mel knows all the layers of the game. He's an encyclopedia of knowledge, and if you can grab on to what's he saying, he'll take you on quite a journey.

Speaking of journeys, Mel is always on one. If he sleeps, I don't know when. I can't imagine the hours he's spent in the car after working the night shift driving to a women's basketball game that anybody else would have blown off. Mel never talks about it like it's a chore. It's just what he does, what he's done, hundreds and hundreds of times.

The first time I ran into Mel a few years after I interned, I didn't expect him to remember me. But Mel has always remembered who I was. Writers can be pretty cliquey at times, but there's no clique with Mel, a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame whose Greenberg Award is the Pulitzer in the sport. It doesn't matter if he has a million things to do -- he makes the time and he is genuine all the time. Mel knows a million times more than I do, but he's always made me feel like I had something to add about a sport that's he narrated for nearly 40 years.

Lou used to say, "Mel is just Mel," and that's just it. There's no one like him. One of a kind. The Inquirer was lucky to have him all those years. The sport is richer thanks to him. And me, I'm lucky, too. I'm lucky I know Mel. And I'm flattered Mel knows me, too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

UNC Wilmington fires Ann Hancock

UNC Wilmington has fired head coach Ann Hancock after 10 seasons, the school announced in a release Wednesday.

"We appreciate Ann's hard work and dedication to UNCW during her time here," director of athletics Kelly Mehrtens. "We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors."

Hancock led the Seahawks to a 138-156 record (72-91 CAA) during her tenure. She earned CAA Coach of the Year honors in 2003, then had things bottom out during the 2006-07 season when UNCW went just 8-23. But the 2007-08 Seahawks went 17-14 to rank among the most improved teams in the nation, and after a 16-15 mark the following year, the hope was for another step forward in 2009-10. But the Seahawks slumped to a 12-19 mark last season, and the campaign ended with a thud in a 27-point loss to eventual champion James Madison in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals.

Hancock had been the fourth-longest tenured CAA coach at her current school. William and Mary's Debbie Taylor just completed her 11th season with the Tribe, Tina Martin her 14th at Delaware and Wendy Larry her 23rd at Old Dominion. Also, Lea Henry just wrapped up her 16th season at Georgia State before resigning last month. The Panthers introduced former East Carolina head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener as their new leader last week.

UVa., Va.Tech - bring basketballs and bathing suits

Virginia and Virginia Tech will spend part of their Thanksgiving Day on basketball courts in exotic locales.

Debbie Ryan's crew will join West Virginia, TCU and Iowa State - all 2009-10 NCAA Tournament qualifiers - in the Jam Division of the 11th annual Paradise Jam Nov. 25-27 at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas.

The schedule:

Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving) - Virginia vs. Iowa State, 3:15 p.m. (EST)
Nov. 26 - Virginia vs. West Virginia, 1p.m.
Nov. 27 - Virginia vs. TCU, 1 p.m.

The Cavaliers last appeared in the Paradise Jam in 2005, when they finished second after dropping a 69-64 decision to Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech will join Iowa, Montana and Purdue in the Mar Division of the sixth annual Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico. We're not sure of the schedule yet, but the Hokies will play two games over the Nov. 25-27 time period.

In 2005, Tech defeated Western Michigan and Texas Tech in Cancun to improve to 10-0. The following week, the Hokies were elevated to the No. 25 slot in the Associated Press poll.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Virginia Tech's early, EARLY recruiting pitch

The Salisbury (N.C.) Post is reporting that Virginia Tech has offered a scholarship to eighth-grader Brielle Blaire, a 5-11 phenom who apparently lit things up last weekend at Boo Williams Nike Invitational in Hampton. How good is Blaire? Here's her answer, via Twitter - "I'm a future WNBA player wit mad skillz."
Yep, she's an eighth-grader all right. At least we know she's not bashful.

A more objective opinion comes from John Jordan, the director of who had Blaire in a fall exposure camp - and this was in 2008, when Blaire was just starting seventh-grade.

This young lady totally dominated the camp," Jordan wrote. "Right now she could start for many D2 and perhaps even a few D1 programs... An athletic forward with a great jump shot including 3-point range who has the ability to attack the rim and finish with contact. And when I say finish I mean she's finishing on 6-4 girls who are mid- to high-major level players. Extremely skilled, aggressive and athletic. I predict that she will be getting major D1 offers before she ever starts high school. She is that good."

Hyperbole? Perhaps. I mean, an athletic forward with a great jumper who can attack and finish through contact? That's Maya Moore, right? But Jordan was apparently right about D1 offers coming in before Blaire hits high school. Looks like Virginia Tech may be the first. But if this kid is even half as good as she sounds, the Hokies definitely won't be the last.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Extreme makeover continues at NSU

Make that six incoming recruits for Norfolk State, who have now added 5-10 guard-forward Sarah Daily from Blinn Community College in Texas to the mix. The move creates a reunion of sorts - two years ago NSU's Debra Clark, then the head coach at Florida A&M, was recruiting Daily to become a Lady Rattler.

"But when I didn't go, she didn't go," Clark said. "Now we're back together."

Daily will join guard Tia Moore, Herndon High center Carlon Chambers, New Jersey guard Rae Corbo, Woodbridge High forward Rachel Gordon and Illinois forward Destiny Spence as new Spartans this fall.

Curious transfer at Delaware

We've been expecting some roster moves at Delaware, where Tina Martin's task is to find enough supplementary talent to complement All-American Elena Delle Donne. But we weren't expecting the exodus of junior Tesia Harris, who the school announced last week will transfer.

The move is curious on several fronts. Rarely do juniors with just one year of eligibility remaining transfer, particularly if no coaching change is involved. Playing time wasn't an issue - Harris has been an unquestioned starter the past two years. And Harris appeared to be thriving as a player at Delaware. She averaged 12.2 ppg last season - second among Blue Hens to Delle Donne - and two years ago was a third-team All-CAA pick.

We're not in the speculation business when it comes to why players come and go, and all Martin is offering is the perfunctory "We wish Tesia well." But the News-Journal's Kevin Tresolini, who's has stayed on top of Blue Hens sports for years, suggests the move may have something to do with wanting to be closer to home, and that St. John's is a likely destination.

Obviously we hope things work out well for Harris. As for Delaware, while this hardly qualifies as good news, Harris' departure shouldn't cripple the Blue Hens going forward. Delaware needs players capable of capitalizing on the extra attention Delle Donne demands. Like most of last year's Blue Hens, Harris (a 35.7 percent shooter) struggled in this regard.

So far, Delaware has just one incoming recruit, center Kelsey Buchanan, the Virginia Division 4 Player of the Year from two-time state champion Freedom High. The Blue Hens also appear to be in play for at least one other hotshot. Anna Kestler, a point guard from Pittsburgh and the No. 52-ranked player in ESPN's Top 60 juniors, lists Delaware among the leaders for her services along with Virginia, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, St. John's (maybe to team with Harris?), and Wisconsin-Green Bay.

That a player with Kestler's options is considering Delaware is important because Martin has said that last summer, the lure of playing with Delle Donne at a mid-major school like Delaware wasn't that attractive to high-profile recruits. Now that people have seen that Delle Donne is everything she's cracked up to be, at least one big-time recruit is giving the idea serious thought.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Who's Who at Boo

If you've never seen AAU ball, you'll be confused by the Boo Williams Nike Invitational playing out for the upteenth year in a row in Hampton this weekend. Maybe you've done some research and you think you know. You know about this kid named Elizabeth Williams, Virginia's Gatorade State Player of the Year. Pat and Geno have her on speed dial. You know Boo's elite squad has four others from the top 100 junior prospects, including Tennessee-bound Cierra Burdick. You've read about future Huskey Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Bria Smith, Rachel Hollivay, Temi Fagbenie. Jewels of the 2011 class.

They're all here is and so is everybody who is anybody in women's basketball. Yet still it's confusing. Starting with the parking lot.

You can't find a spot. Cars are wedged in every which way and it's not exactly a tiny lot. You take a chance and park in the fire lane but are talked out of it. Finally somebody leaves and you're set, gazing at all the big and tall girls headed the same direction as you, walking into Boo's Sportplex arena like a herd of cattle. Orlando Comets. Tennessee Flight. Team Taurasi. Alana Beard's Future. You like that name. You go inside and players are everywhere, and you wonder. Which faces should I memorize so I can say I saw her when?

You head one direction and realize the kids on the court must be 13. You've got years to check those young'ins out, so you wander away, eager to set your sights on the next Maya Moore. Boo's team has tipped off, and you think it will be obvious. Which one is going to Tennessee? Which two are going to Duke? Hey, that kid on the other court over there looks like Kayla Pederson. Is she going to be somebody?

As desperately as you'd like to be the one informing, you need to be informed. You're find yourself trying to overhear the folks in the bleachers who seem to know who's who. You want to fixate on one player, but who? Does anybody have a roster? There's no name on the back of these jerseys. There's no program, that you can afford anyway. That coveted coach's binder that everybody wearing a collegiate shirt is walking around with costs $200, a bargain considering every kid's phone number is alongside her name.

Speaking of coaches, they're all here. You see Pat Summitt walk by in an understated black polo that reads Tennessee. You wonder why it's not orange. You see that blond, blond hair and realize it's Brenda Frese. Andy Landers walks by alone. There's Beth Cunningham and Denise Dillon. No Geno, but assistant Chris Dailey is roaming around.

The shirts read Appalachian State. Monmouth. Delaware State. Hey, that's Sylvia Hatchell.

Summitt gets up after watching Boo's team struggle in the first half, and you wonder. Was she watching Cierra? The kid's already verballed, after all. Is Cierra watching Pat watching her? Wendy Larry sits down where Summitt sat. You know how much Wendy must want one of these thoroughbreds who's in her own back yard. What a coup it would be for her to get one of those Lake Taylor High School kids, who stunned Princess Anne in this year's state title game. Three of the Titans are on this Boo team. One of them is Linda Stepney but you hear she's getting letters from the SEC, ACC and Big East. No UConn and Tennessee, but everybody else.

C. Vivian Stringer sits down when Larry moves along. Is there something about that seat?

The answer is no. It's not a luxury box. It's a portable bleacher roped off that says "NCAA Coaches Only." Don't know if anybody would stop you from walking right up to Stringer or Summitt and plopping down. You'd think somebody would like an autograph, but that's not what this scene is about. Everybody is used to each other because on a smaller scale, this scene is played out all over the country most of the spring and summer.

Some teams are jogging around the track that encircles all these courts in this huge facility of Boo's. Other teams collect in the stands. "When do you play tomorrow?" a mom asks her. Her daughter rolls her eyes. Don't know, she says. "When do we play?" she yells to a teammate two rows in front. Somebody says 1 something and then 7:30.

All the while these games go on, like a TV droning in the background. This is no child's play. It's physical, more physical than any college game you've watched this season, yet you hear whistles, whistles, whistless. But where are they coming from? With so many courts bunched together, you don't know which way to turn. Is that whistle coming from this court or that court? No matter because the game keeps rolling as if there's a plane to catch.The coaches don't seem to be throwing a fit on the sidelines over the refs, either. You could get used to this.

You've only been there a few hours, but you're bleary eyed. No high school game feels like this. No college game, either. This is AAU -- one day, one slice, one game at a time.

Boo Williams survives Day One - barely

Boo Williams certainly has some nice players. But Friday, it took them a while to start playing like a nice team. And that led to some pretty nice drama in the elite 16-and-under division of the Nike Boo Williams Invitational at the BooPlex in Hampton.

Almost too much drama for the man himself, who scratched his head as he leaned back in a chair after his team's 63-61 first-round escape over the youthful Arizona Warriors.

"We've been practicing for five weeks," Williams said. "But it looked like we just met in the parking lot."

Much is expected of this Boo Williams team, and why not? As usual, Williams has assembled a star-laden roster, this one boasting five players in ESPN Hoopgurlz' Top 100. Granted, the most coveted one of them all, Princess Anne center Elizabeth Williams, was absent Friday (she's expected back for the tournament Saturday). But that still leaves Tennessee-bound Cierra Burdick, Duke commits Whitney Knight and Ka'lia Johnson, and a host of other players the assembled who's who of Division I college coaches are targeting.

As Boo's players discovered, Arizona's girls have talent, too. They're just young - five are still in ninth grade while another is but an eighth-grader. They didn't look terribly imposing; even their jerseys appeared to be simple white T-shirts with numbers attached. And there were only eight of them.

But all eight know how to play. More importantly, they know how to play together. All live in the same neighborhood and are teammates at Arizona state runner-up St. Mary's. Several have played together for years.

So in this particular case, eight was very nearly enough. It must be daunting traveling 2,000 miles to play against Boo Williams' team in Boo Williams' tournament in Boo Williams' gym. But these Warriors were fearless.

"Going in I was a little concerned because they're awfully good," Arizona coach Curtis Ekmark said. "But we have a special group. We wanted to play against the best."

When we arrived early in the first half, we weren't surprised to see the home team ahead by eight. That is, until we realized that Arizona was designated the home team and was handing it to the sleeker, more athletic Boo Williams side. A pet play by the Heat was to penetrate and kick out to a 3-point shooter, then make a second pass to another 3-point shooter before letting it fly. Boo's players were continually late rotating out on the extra pass, and they were continually burned.

"We probably took them for granted a little bit, but then they started making shots," Williams said of the Warriors, who splashed 10 3-pointers for the game. "They shot the eyes out of the ball."

Boo's team cut the deficit to just two at halftime, then watched Arizona skip out to a 14-point advantage with less than eight minutes to go. It was only then that the Williams' girls dug in defensively, cutting off the drives to the hoop and securing the 3-point line. They also pressed Arizona into submission, emboldened by the lack of a whistle on anything short of outright assault.

"Their physicality wore us down a little bit," Ekmark said.

Offensively, a trio of players from Group AAA state champion Lake Taylor led the way. Toia Giggetts and Crystal Leary combined for 17 points, and point guard Linda Stepney scored 15 all by herself, including the driving layup that snapped a 55-55 tie and gave her team the lead for good.

Still, it took a block on Arizona's potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Boo Williams team to survive an inauspicious start against the upstart Warriors.

Saturday's prospects (Boo Williams plays against the Utah Flight at 10:50 a.m.) appear more promising. Elizabeth Williams will be back. They certainly won't be taking anyone else for granted. And the players finally seem to understand the value of defending the 3-point line.

The lack of team chemistry Boo Williams bemoaned Friday may be a bit more elusive. But we're expecting that to be a lot better on Day Two as well.

After all, it's not as though these players just met in the parking lot.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hanging out at Boo Williams

We're wading into the AAU pool this afternoon for the Boo Williams Nike Invitational. It's a bit of a maiden journey, as we've never really focused on the summer hoops circuit before. Looking forward to trying to wrap our arms around it.

The (Newport News) Daily Press has a good primer on the weekend tournament. We'll try to take it from there.

NSU sticks with Clark; Ga.State tabs Baldwin-Tener

Congratulations to coach Debra Clark, who shed her interim tag at Norfolk State and was given a four-year contract through the 2013-14 season. Clark may be the first coach in history to earn a new deal and job security after a 4-23 season. But as anyone who watched the Spartans play can attest, that record spoke directly to the talent deficiency Clark inherited. Maybe Geno Auriemma would have won five or six games with that group. But he also may have only won three. No disrespect to the 2009-10 Spartans, but they just didn't have enough Division I-caliber players, particularly in the frontcourt, to get the better of just about anyone over 40 minutes. Clark has started to address this with a promising first recruiting class, but will likely need at least two more recruiting cycles for the Spartans to truly get back on their feet. Credit NSU's administration for recognizing this and making sure she'll have the time. By the way, love how the release refers to Clark as the "permanent" head coach. Talk about your oxymorons....

In other coaching news, Georgia State will introduce East Carolina's Sharon Baldwin-Tener as its head coach at a press conference Friday afternoon. Sounds like a perfect fit - Baldwin-Tener was born in Georgia, played high school and college ball in Georgia and spent some time as one of Andy Landers' ace recruiters at the University of Georgia. Oh, and she can coach a little bit, too. Baldwin-Tener took East Carolina from six wins to 12 in her first season (2002-03), to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years (2007) and to 41 victories over the past two seasons. Her last victory may have been her most improbable - in a first-round WNIT game last month, the Lady Pirates rallied from 18 points down with 6:32 remaining to force overtime against Drexel, then stunned the Dragons 78-76 on a tip-in with two seconds left.

Obviously, Baldwin-Tener's departure will come as sad news at East Carolina. But something tells me the students down there will manage to find something to celebrate about.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tall tales from Rose Marie Battaglia

This story is a week old, but if you haven't seen it yet, this Full Court Press story about longtime girls/women's basketball coach and Final Four fixture Rose Marie Battaglia is a fun read. Battaglia is perhaps best known as Anne Donovan's high school coach at Paramus Catholic High, and even then, the coach remembers the 6-foot-8 Donovan as someone she always looked up to.

“Everyone knew when I was going to yell at her because I’d start to pull out the row of bleachers,” Battaglia said. “I’m 5-foot-2, so I had to get up there to see the top of her head.”

Unsigned seniors unite at Boo Williams

We're sure the players will be ballin' like crazy over the next three days during the prestigious Nike Boo Williams Girls Invitational in Hampton. But the fiercest, most determined action of the weekend figures to come Sunday during an unsigned high school senior/junior college players only girls basketball showcase, sort of a last-chance audition for players convinced that a scholarship is just a few more dribbles away. One such player is Sade Jackson, a 5-8 guard from Aquinas High in the Bronx who told the New York Post she's not leaving the showcase without a Division I offer.

“D-II is not an option,” Jackson said. “I just want to play D-I. I feel like I’m capable of playing Division I. Anything else would be settling.”

Jackson is so set on playing at the highest level that even if there are still no takers after Sunday she may still walk on "at a program like Old Dominion."

A program like Old Dominion?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spartans sign another; JMU continues to stockpile

The influx of talent continues at Norfolk State, which on Wednesday got a signed letter-of-intent from Tia Moore, a 5-7 guard out of E.E. Smith High in Fayetteville, N.C. Smith averaged a team-high 10.6 points per game for a Golden Bulls team that went 23-2 last season.  Wednesday is the first day of the regular (spring) signing period; the Spartans added four recruits during the early signing period last November. One of them, New Jersey's Rae Corbo, sounds like quite the player. Here's how described her 2009-10 season in naming her to their All-Suburban team:

The 2007 co-Freshman of the Year repeats on the first team after propelling the Paladins (23-6) to a spot in the North Non-Public A state finals, as well as a runner-up finish in the NBIL Division 1. On a team that scored 57.6 points a game, the senior averaged 19.3 and was the leading scorer in Bergen County with 561 total points, adding 6 assists and 5 steals per outing. The 5-foot-7 guard closed her four-year varsity career with 1,272 points, the most by a Lady Paladin since 1948, and she has a full scholarship to play at Division I Norfolk State.

Meanwhile, James Madison apparently has also added a new piece. On Sunday, WHSV's Damon Dillman reported that Boston College sophomore guard/forward Jasmine Gill will transfer to JMU. The 6-1 Gill appeared in all 32 of BC's games last season and averaged 6.5 points per contest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

JMU's Smith Carson returns to Furman

Congratulations to (former) JMU assistant and Ladyswish Twitter follower Jackie Smith Carson, who on Tuesday was introduced as the new head coach at her alma mater, Furman. Smith Carson will no doubt be a popular choice on the Greenville, S.C. campus - the former two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year finished her career as one of the most decorated athletes in the school's history. And she definitely takes a nice picture. It's just too bad she's out of eligibility - the Paladins finished 7-24 last season and have lost at least 20 games in four of the last five seasons. Here's hoping coach Smith Carson can recruit a couple of budding Smith Carsons - although there aren't many of those running around.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

Appel over Wright? Get serious

Stanford's Jayne Appel is a wonderful player. She has not been one of the five best players in America this season. So with all due respect, she does not belong on this year's five-player John Wooden All-American team.

If healthy, Appel would have very likely fit nicely in this group. She may have even made a run at national player of the year. But Appel hasn't been healthy. She wasn't 100 percent for Stanford's season opener, and she's not 100 percent now. Because of these injuries, Appel's scoring and rebounding averages are the lowest since her freshman year.

Virginia's Monica Wright, on the other hand, was a statistical marvel who also carried an otherwise not-quite-ready-for-primetime Cavaliers bunch all season. Obviously Appel is a key player on a Stanford team that's still playing, while Wright's team couldn't make it out of the first round. But if you compare the individual seasons of an injured Appel and a healthy Wright, it's not even close.

It's as though the Wooden folks put Appel's name at the top of the list in the preseason - a no-brainer at the time - and then stopped paying attention.

Of course, it's not as though Wright is starved for postseason acclaim. Her list of honors so far:
- ACC Player of the Year
- ACC Defensive Player of the Year
- First team All-ACC
- WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year
- AP First-team All-American
- USBWA First-team All-American

No disrespect to Appel, but Wright should have had to make room on her mantle for Wooden honors, too.

Has UVa. struck gold for 2011?

She averaged 32 points and 20 rebounds. Scored 53 of her team's 64 points in a state playoff game. Her coach says her best attribute is her work ethic. And her upside seems virtually limitless - the kid has only been playing basketball four years. Yes, 6-foot-2 Nigeria native and St. Anne's-Belfield junior Sarah Imovbioh, who verbally committed to Virginia earlier this week, sounds almost too good to be true. She also sounds like just the kind of impact recruit the Cavaliers needed to land in this post-Monica Wright era.